NORTHERN Rail has launched a campaign to crack down on fare dodgers across Cheshire.
The most common journey where people are caught travelling without a ticket was from Widnes to Liverpool Lime Street. In an attempt to reduce the number of people receiving fines for not buying a ticket, Northern has launched two online videos and a series of station and train posters showing two scenarios where someone takes something for free.
Alex Hynes, managing director of Northern, said: “We know from talking to our customers they have a real problem when they see others not paying for their journey. We don’t want to see passengers get into trouble and want to make sure they understand the implications of taking a free ride.
“The videos show two situations that we know people wouldn’t do, and show that not paying for a train ticket is the same, so why do it?
“We hear all sorts of excuses from passengers as to why they don’t have a ticket – they don’t have any money or a conductor did not come down the train and sell them one. It’s the passenger’s responsibility to buy a ticket, so they must seek out the conductor to get one or if that is not possible, then buy a ticket at their destination station.”
Across Cheshire, there were 1,598 occasions where passengers were caught travelling on Northern services without a valid ticket last year.
Some157 of those journeys started at Widnes, 125 from both Warrington Central and Birchwood, all of which have staffed ticket offices where customers can buy a ticket before they board the train.
Alex added: “We know that some of our smaller stations have limited opportunities to buy tickets, and we are investing in new ticket buying facilities and currently carrying out independent surveys across the network to gain information on how our customers want to purchase tickets. This will allow us to continue to give our customers easy and varied opportunities to pay for their journey. However, the highest number of journeys made without paying for them started at stations with open ticket offices and ticket vending machines.”
Fare evasion continues to be a huge issue for the rail industry, costing £240million per year.
The videos can be seen at northernrail.org/getaticket